The Power of LAS Scholarships

“The Davee Foundation has given me a gift, my education, and for that, I am grateful. I aspire to one day help other students achieve their goals as The Davee Foundation has allowed me to achieve mine. Thank you for helping me realize my dreams.”

—LAS undergraduate Maribell Heredia, neuroscience major on a pre-medical track and recipient of The Davee Scholarship

The Dave Foundation

From left: Davee Scholars Alina Shumov (Neuroscience) and Jennifer Chang (Biochemistry), Dean Astrida Orle Tantillo, The Davee Foundation Executive Administrator Craig Grannon, Davee Scholars Maribell Heredia (Neuroscience) and Jinit Desai (Neuroscience and Philosophy).

In the spring of 2015, Dean Astrida Orle Tantillo hosted the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ first Scholarship Recognition Luncheon, honoring scholarship donors and celebrating the achievements of scholarship recipients. The event, which took place in Student Center East, was a wonderful opportunity to bring together undergraduate students and their benefactors. In her welcoming remarks, Dean Tantillo thanked the scholarship donors in the room and emphasized the significant difference that scholarship support can make in the lives of LAS students. “Scholarships provide crucial financial support, enabling students to take on less debt, perhaps to work less, and ultimately, to focus more time and energy on their education,” said Dean Tantillo.

She pointed out that giving to a scholarship fund is a powerful message of belief in students, their education, and their futures. Dean Tantillo also highlighted the special relationship between a scholarship donor and a scholarship recipient, by noting that both donors and recipients “can inspire one another and leave a lasting impression of the power of generosity and thankfulness.”

Following her welcome, Dean Tantillo introduced Craig Grannon, Executive Administrator of The Davee Foundation, which established The Davee Scholarship, LAS’ largest scholarship fund. The Davee Scholarship provides significant scholarship support for students with financial need and the highest academic performance.

In his remarks, Grannon discussed the history of the foundation, detailed its mission of philanthropy, and talked about Ruth Dunbar Davee’s deep passion for education.

Grannon explained that Ken Davee, a market research entrepreneur, and his wife, Adeline, started the foundation in 1964 to support their philanthropy. After Adeline passed away in 1986, Ken married Ruth Dunbar Davee. After Ken’s passing in 1998, he left his entire estate to the foundation and his widow, Ruth, became its president.

Ruth Dunbar Davee began her undergraduate education at the University of Illinois at Chicago (Navy Pier campus), and finished her bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. She later went on to earn a PhD from Northwestern University. Her accomplishments included teaching at several universities, having a successful 20-year career in journalism, and working for the Illinois State Board of Education.

“Mrs. Davee started her collegiate education here at the University of Illinois at Chicago,” noted Grannon. “She had a warm spot in her heart for it. We did not know that The Davee Scholarship is the largest in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. We are very pleased by that fact.” He then announced that The Davee Foundation Board was making an additional generous gift to increase The Davee Scholarship endowment. The increased endowment means that even more LAS students can be awarded Davee Scholarships.

“All of these scholarships being recognized today were created by people who felt that it was very important to give back and to help others obtain their education,” Grannon told the students. “In the future, I hope that all of you will also have the opportunity to give back in some way.”

The scholarship donors and student recipients in the room then heard from one of the Davee Scholars, Maribell Heredia, who spoke about her aspirations, the ways in which being a Davee Scholar has enabled her to pursue her goals, and the importance of scholarship support for LAS students. The pre-med neuroscience major credited The Davee Foundation with providing the support that has allowed her to have a “true undergraduate experience,” engage in a number of extracurricular activities, and strongly focus on her studies.

“My education has always been first on my list of priorities because I know that this investment will take me far in life and allow me to give back to society,” Heredia said. She then expressed deep gratitude to The Davee Foundation for their support, and she also spoke on behalf of all the scholarship recipients in extending thanks to all donors. “Your generosity has transformed the lives of many students including myself,” she said. “Without you, none of this would be possible.”

Donors and recipients of the following LAS scholarships were honored at the 2015 Scholarship Recognition Luncheon: Al & Betty & Scott Brauner Endowment, Peter James Barbato Memorial Scholarship, The Davee Scholarship, Eakman Scholarship, FMC Award of Excellence, Mario V. & Edith J. Gambardella Award, Raquel M. & Alfredo Garza Scholarship, James A. Hagan Endowed Scholarship, Eugenia R. & Max M. Jacobson M.D. Memorial Scholarship, Merrill C. Kenna & Brent D. Nicholson Scholarship, Walter & Mary Knorowski Prize, Adam Kuhn Scholarship, LAS Endowed Scholarship, Jeff E. Lewis Scholarship, The Bernard Shaw Prize, the Dorothy Thelander Memorial Scholarship, and the Dorothy Thelander Undergraduate Student Award.

To learn how to support scholarships for LAS students, please contact Katherine Veach, Assistant Dean for Advancement, at 312.413.3469 or